May 8, 2019
by Ariel Adams
Backes & Strauss is still a relatively unknown luxury watchmaker that has a distinct “jewelry watch focus” and is part of the Franck Muller Group of brands (which includes others such as Franck Muller and Cvstos). Backes & Strauss has its share of tourbillon-based timepieces, but my favorite Backes & Strauss watches are the artfully conceived jewelry pieces for both men and women. Today, I write about a rather lovely and decadent women’s timepiece model that is the Backes & Strauss Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40 (ref. REN-PC40MMDH.WG.WRU.FULL.DINT).
Inspired by the long legacy of British royalty, the Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40, according to Backes & Strauss, has a design that is inspired by “Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s undying love.” Hearts certainly are at the heart of this Diamond Heart watch. I’m using the term “heart” so many times because it is very much a repeating theme on the watch. From a luxury standpoint, the Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40 uses over 4 carats of heart-cut diamonds, 0.49 carats of heart-cut rubies, and heart motif engravings on the mother-of-pearl dial.
With the heart-shaped diamonds among the other diamonds on the watch, the Backes & Strauss Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40 has a total of 5.19 carats of diamonds and 0.49 carats of rubies, in addition to the 18k white gold case that, for this timepiece, is 40mm-wide. The relatively thin case helps the watch feel appropriately sized for many women, gives its comparatively large size for a women’s timepiece. Inside the watch is a hand-engraved, but otherwise simple, time-only (just hours and minutes) Swiss ETA manually wound mechanical movement. I wasn’t able to get a shot of the rear of the watch, but the movement is visible through a sapphire crystal window.
With its bright red alligator strap (that is appropriately fitted to the case), the overall composition of the Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40 is very attractive, in my opinion. The symmetrical dial is both legible (thanks to the brand’s signature large-sized “claymore sword” hands that are lume-painted in the middle) and visually engaging. The four heart-shaped rubies on the dial serve as hour markers, and the inside of the mother-of-pearl dial is decorated with a few rings of brilliant-cut diamonds. This ring echos the case of the watch bezel, which is decorated with additional heart-cut stones, this time being diamonds. Additional diamonds are used on the Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40’s case sides, and lugs, as well as the crown and strap buckle.
The real test of a jewelry watch isn’t just how it looks sitting on a table, but how it looks on the wrist of a wearer. As a man, I wasn’t going to model the Backes & Strauss Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40 on my hairy wrist, and thankfully, there was a woman to model it for the aBlogtoWatch audience during my shoot. Given the design — the diamonds are set into the bezel — I like how the viewer sees mostly stones, as opposed to the watch case itself. The dial is simple but beautiful in its design, with the resulting regality that Backes & Strauss is, no doubt, going for. There are plenty of alternative choices if you are interested in getting a high-end women’s watch — but something like the Backes & Strauss Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40 is for confident wearers (and buyers for that matter) who are less interested in a brand name doing the speaking for them and who prefer to wear their watches (and jewelry), as opposed to having their watches wear them. Price for the ref. REN-PC40MMDH.WG.WRU.FULL.DINT Backes & Strauss Piccadilly Renaissance Diamond Heart 40 watch is $100,000 USD. Learn more at the Backes & Strauss website here.